Seriously, I think that I am still atoning for not paying more attention to this Japanese band earlier. I mean that I had some of their records but never really felt that deeply about them one way or another (maybe subconsciously due to their singing in Japanese thus making it a bit difficult to connect to the music). Then I saw them for the first time after their last album,Insomniac Doze, was released and something just clicked the right way. Envy is a powerfully emotive band in the live setting and that power was in full effect that night, and it decisively induced my joining the cult of Envy. Abyssal is the latest recording from the band and serves as a bit of a teaser or holdover until their next full-length. At more than twenty-five minutes this four-song EP is longer than other bands' albums.
The quiet opening of "A Road of the Winds the Water Builds" is perfect to kick off Abyssal, and when the vocals and guitar melodies explode onto the scene, it is obvious that Envy is going all out on this song. The quiet returns with a soft vocal section that is actually very pretty sounding. The track trades between the soft and loud dynamic during the entire ten plus minutes of its length with some great sounding guitar melodies going on the whole time. When the marching snare takes the rhythm section over, the musical arrangements all sounds so good and just ties the proceedings together extremely well. The off kilter rhythm at the beginning of "All That's Left has Gone to Sleep" breaks the pace up in a positive way; surprisingly the song has an excellent flow to it despite the one rhythm part as it all seems to work together in creating probably the most straightforward song on the record. The introduction to "Thousand Scars" takes the tempo back from the quick pace of the previous song and continues the loud and soft dynamic interplay that is prevalent in many of Envy's songs. At times the two guitarists play dual leads, which makes for rather intricate melody lines. The ending of the song is one of the better endings to a song that I have heard in a long time with its abrupt to the point arrangement that enhances the affect. The lullaby-like quality of "Fading Vision" just sounds like the soundtrack to a dream while it turns out to be a fitting ending to Abyssal.
If Abyssal is truthfully intended to be a holdover to sate the ever growing cult of Envy until the next album drops then the band puts other bands' efforts and attempts at the same thing to shame by offering a record that stands perfectly well on its own. Abyssal contains all of the power and emotion that people have come to expect from Envy when the put out a record. But it does not do one thing that the last several Envy albums have done and that would be making a change in sound. Instead, this EP seems to be a "missing link" between A Dead Sinking Story and Insomniac Doze. This is not a bad aspect of the record, but just serves as evidence to the point that this is a stop-gap record. I'll take it, as would probably any other Envy aficionado.
8.3 / 10
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